Italy: Social partners involvement in unemployment benefit regimes

  • Observatory: EurWORK
  • Topic:
  • Social protection,
  • Published on: 17 juli 2013



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SP involvement in the UB regime has undertaken different trajectories in the last ten years. Before the 2008-crisis, both centre-right and centre-left governments, each with its own values, methods and constituency, carried out changes considered as incremental, to the UB regime. Results were not so dissimilar, but SP involvement was. During the crisis, all institutional actors joined efforts to tackle the social consequences. SP have been especially involved in specific UB , such as the one provided in ‘derogation’. Finally, while economy seems to clear up, national budget remains under impressive strain. A battery of reforms has been planned to ‘save-Italy’, including a rationalization of the UB regime.

1. The characteristics of the UB system in the country

Historically, the Italian UB regime is made of four different stepping-stones.

The first unemployment benefit introduced in Italy was created during the 30s, especially by royal law n. 636/1939. It was called Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment (“Assicurazione per la disoccupazione involontaria”) and its features were the typical of a UI.

Beyond this, to provide a replacement income to workers whose job is partially or temporarily reduced or suspended, since the 50s the UI has been widely integrated by social shock absorbers and short-time working schemes, such as the Wage Guarantee Funds, both ordinary or exceptional (“Cassa Integrazione Guadagni Ordinaria e Straordinaria”).

Later on, thanks to law n. 160/1988, an UA scheme was added in the UB system, called Insurance for Unemployment with Reduced Requirements (“Indennità di disoccupazione a requisiti ridotti”). Its subsidies were smaller than the ones foreseen by the ordinary insurance, targeting under-employed rather than unemployed workforce.

Finally, law n. 223/1991 tackled massive lay-offs, due to industrial restructuring processes, by creating a new UI measure, the Mobility Funds (“Mobilità”). Its aim was to provide a replacement income as well as incentives, like contribution discounts, to employers available to hire those unemployed workers.

1.1. Recent changes/transformations of the UB system in your country:

1.1.1. In the last 10 years, has the country’s UB regime been modified? Have new forms of interventions been introduced?

If yes, , please specify what has been changed / which innovations have been introduced, focusing more on the most recent/ most relevant transformations of the UB system:

Three neatly different transformative phases has marked the last ten years of the Italian UB regime.

1) Before the 2008 crisis, the Italian UB regime has been modified by improving its most traditional scheme, the Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment (UI). It occurred through two main interventions: 2005 Law on Competitiveness (“Decreto Competitività”, law n. 80/2005) and 2007 Social Pact on Welfare (“Protocollo Welfare”, then absorbed in the law n. 247/2007).

2) At the very heart of the 2008 crisis, the UB system has been stretched to protect the increasing number of employers and their employees in needs. Practically, the anti-crisis legislation (law n. 2/2009 and law n. 33/2009) on the one hand allowed for derogation regarding the eligibility criteria of two UB schemes, Mobility Funds (UI) and Wage Guarantee Funds; on the other hand it offered an episodic redundancy benefit to economically dependent, despite formally autonomous, workers (UA).

3) Insofar the first deep of the 2008 crisis seemed to be overcome, the Italian UB regime has been geared towards a process of rationalization. Even though -at the moment of writing- its outcomes are still under discussion, the then ‘Monti government’ approved a law proposal on 23 March 2012, named “Labour Market Reform in a growth perspective” (“La riforma del mercato del lavoro in una prospettiva di crescita”), planning to replace main UB schemes (UI&UA) with two new ones: a Social Insurance for Employment (Assicurazione Sociale Per l’Impiego, Aspi) and its Short Version (Mini-Aspi).

1.1.2. For each of these changes/innovations indicate:

1a. 2005 LAW ON COMPETITIVENESS

  1. date of introduction:

Law n. 80/2005

  1. who took the initiative (government, unions, employers’ associations, other organisations):

Centre-right government

  1. the content of the change / of the new programme:

In 2000 (law no. 388/2000, art.78 c.19), the Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment implied a replacement rate equivalent to 40% of wages previously earned and benefits guaranteed for 6 months, which were raised to 9 months for workers over 50. By 2005, the Law on Competitiveness (art.13 c.2) extended the benefits’ length to 7 months and, for unemployed over 50, to 10 months, while its amount lifted up to 50% of previous retribution for the first 6 months, 40% for next 3 and 30% for the remaining one.

  1. the aim pursued:

As far as UB are concerned, the effects were quite modest, leaving the impression that this intervention was thought for its political resonance, since national polls were to be held on the following year. As a matter of fact, UB increase was set to be effective only until 31 December 2006.

1b. 2007 PACT ON WELFARE

  1. date of introduction:

Law n. 247/2007 (derived from social pact signed on 23 July 2007)

  1. who took the initiative (government, unions, employers’ associations, other organisations):

Centre-left coalition, along with trade unions.

a) the content of the change / of the new programme:

Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment arrived to 8 months and, for aged over 50, 12 months (art.1 c.25). Its replacement rates slightly increased what temporarily fixed in 2005, arriving to 60% of previous earnings for the first 6 months, 50% for next 2 and 40% for the remaining ones. Art. 1.26, improved the Insurance for Unemployment with Reduced Requirements. Its replacement rate passed from 30% of previous retribution to 35% for the first 120 days and 40% for the next ones. Based on a daily count, it is equivalent to previous year’s working days and stops at the 180th day. Besides, the total of working days plus subsidized days must not exceed 360 instead of 312.

b) the aim pursued:

This intervention was part of a wider and more ambitious policy-mix on welfare, which was asked to reconcile several interests. The overall effect was especially noticeable, in regards to UA (UB with reduced requirements). Nevertheless, The Pact still relies on the traditional path of the Italian UB regime, without tackling its structural problems, such as the ones related to coverage and eligibility.

2 - 2009 ANTI-CRISIS ACTS

  1. date of introduction:

Law n. 2/2009 (art.19) and law n. 33/2009 (art.7-ter)

  1. who took the initiative (government, unions, employers’ associations, other organisations):

Governments, urged by negative economic performances. All institutional actors have been involved and their convergence has been easily found. Furthermore, a remarkable role in the UB system has been assigned to Regions.

  1. the content of the change / of the new programme:

Derogating to its eligibility criteria, UB and social shock absorbers schemes have been widely extended, as respectively occurred with Mobility Funds in derogation and Wage Guarantee Funds in derogation.

A new and temporary form of UA has been created, dedicated to formally autonomous but economically dependent, workers in needs. In respect of some criteria, such as being associated with only one contractor (having only one service buyer) and having at least three months of social contribution, this UB offers a benefit equal to 10% of the earnings got in the previous year.

  1. the aim pursued:

To keep firms and jobs alive, although in some cases it has meant only postponing their ends. To prevent social negative consequences due to the economic crisis.

3 - 2012 “SAVE-ITALY” REFORMS

  1. date of introduction:

Law proposal signed on 23 March 2012

  1. who took the initiative (government, unions, employers’ associations, other organisations):

The then ‘Monti Government’ hold the initiative, usually supported by employers’ associations and, to a much lesser extent, by trade unions. The law proposal under discussion, dated 23 March 2012, seems bound to get stuck in discussing the consequences of unlawful firings (right to have the job back or economic compensation).

  1. the content of the change / of the new programme:

A rationalization of the UB regime, both in case of dismissal and suspension from work, through the elimination of main current schemes and the creation of new ones (e.g. Aspi and Mini-Aspi).

  1. the aim pursued:

To reassure financial markets, foreigners governments and private investors on Italy’s reliability, especially as a debtor. In this sense, the reform of the UB system is seen as a contribution towards a more dynamic, sustainable and equitable labour market. Although, at the moment of writing, the Parliament has still to discuss and approve this law proposal, there are reasons to believe that a crucial feature lies in the ability to leave signals of a change, rather than demonstrate that a change in itself is going to occur.

1.2. The main characteristics of the UB system as it is now

Focusing now on the current situation, please specify the characteristics of the existing programmes:

1.2.1. Unemployment Insurance.

MOBILITY FUNDS

  1. Coverage:

Only workers dismissed by: industrial firms with more than 15 employees; retailing firms with more than 200 employees; supplier firms if their leading firm asked for Mobility Fund; temporarily, this has been extended to other sectors: are also concerned firms in commerce and tourist sectors with at least 50 employees and security firms with no less than 15 workers.

  1. Eligibility:

Workers previously in possession of an open-ended contract, fired after at least one year of firm seniority, who worked for at least 6 months and then were added to the Mobility List, which is associated with relevant social contribution reductions for new potential employers. Claims must be sent to National Institution of Social Security no later than 68 days since the dismissal.

  1. Duration:

Workers younger than 40, 12 months; between 40 and 50, 24 months; over 50, 36 months. In southern Italy, as recognized by law n. 218/1978, 12 months more in any case.

  1. Replacement rates:

80% of wages previously earned, adding a 5,84% tax, for the first 12 months; then 80% of what so far obtained. A maximum threshold is fixed yearly (typically, between 800 and 1000 euro).

  1. Financing:

- Subsidies are directly paid by the National Institution for Social Security (INPS), thanks to two different kinds of social contribution due by employers:

- firms eligible to Mobility Funds are charged with a 0,30% tax on their employees’ wages;

- to start a Mobility request, a firm needs to pay one Mobility treatment per interested workers. Once this procedure ends up in dismissals, employers are charged with 6 or 9 Mobility monthly benefits per unemployed. Whereas the whole process occurs involving trade unions, the amount is decreased by 3 monthly-benefits. If an employer out-places its former employee, its remaining UB allowances are not due.

  1. SP involvement: Yes.

Yes.

If Yes, specify briefly:

Concerning typically large firms, employers are used to handle directly Mobility procedures, without referring to their associations. Trade unions, especially at decentralized level, have several rights involving them in the process, as the rights of information and consultation. Furthermore, firms are supposed to favour agreement with trade unions, since the deal is linked with discounts on social contributions. On the contrary, if trade unions are opposed, public actor at the Province level are asked to solve the issue.

Trade unions tend to be involved because Mobility Funds tackles mainly massive lay-offs, so there are huge social consequences to cope with. On the one hand, they negotiate measures of compensation; on the other, their involvement ‘institutionalizes’ the process, preventing unpredictable even conflictual, reactions.

MOBILITY FUNDS IN DEROGATION

  1. Coverage:

Mobility Funds in derogation are accorded to dismissed workers (permanent, apprenticeship, fixed-end contract and through agency contract) and unemployed whose Mobility Benefits have already expired.

  1. Eligibility:

According to criteria fixed by Regions (e.g. in Lombardy, 90 days of working record, which becomes 40 for temporary workers). In any case, not later than 68 days from the dismissal.

  1. Duration:

According to Regional parameters (e.g. in Lombardy, no more than previous contribution record; in Veneto, 6, 8 or 10 months according to the recipients).

  1. Replacement rates:

Equivalent to ordinary Mobility.

  1. Financing:

Special Funds. The State-Regions Pact signed on 12 February 2009 committed 8.000 millions of Euro for 2009 and 2010: 2/3 derived from national budget, 1/3 from regional programs within FSE.

  1. SP involvement:

Yes.

If Yes, specify briefly:

Beyond what foreseen by ordinary Mobility, here SP are involved at the Regional level, where derogating criteria are settled. Indeed, SP actively joined these regional policy-making processes, which ended up in several agreements and in creating ad-hoc commissions with evaluating and monitoring tasks.

As in all UB in derogation, SP are to cope with the consequences of the 2008 crisis, both in the implementation phase and as collectors of consensus.

INSURANCE FOR INVOLUNTARY UNEMPLOYMENT

  1. Coverage:

Dismissed workers, not in agriculture nor building sector.

  1. Eligibility:

2 years of social security seniority (proved by a week of social contribution recorded more than 2 years before the dismissal), 52 weeks of social contributions’ record in the last 2 years.

Explicit availability to work, declared to the public work agency (“Centro per l’Impiego”).

  1. Duration:

8 months in case dismissed workers are under 50 years old, otherwise 12 months.

  1. Replacement rates:

60% of previous retribution (based on the average of last 3 months before the firing) for the first 6 months, 50% for next 2 months and 40% for possible remaining months. A minimum threshold has been fixed, for 2012, as around 1,000 euro.

  1. Financing:

Employers pay 1,61% of their employees’ retributions as social contribution dedicated to unemployment subsidies. From 2000, within this quota, firms might invest 0,30%to train their employees, through the creation of Bilateral Funds managed by SP.

  1. SP involvement:

Yes/No. If Yes, specify briefly.

Only marginally. Trade unions lobby policy-makers to improve UB benefits. Besides, they might have a role in the practical delivery of UB.

1.2.2. Unemployment Assistance. Are forms of UA present? If yes, please indicate their general characteristics with specific attention to:

INSURANCE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT WITH REDUCED REQUIREMENTS

  1. Coverage:

It provides a replacement income to discontinuous ‘dependent workers’, who in case of unemployment are not eligible for the ordinary insurance. For example, Autonomous workers, even though economically dependent, are not considered. Exceptionally, as part of interventions post-2008 crisis, it has been extended to workers not dismissed, but only temporarily ‘suspended’ from work. Such a measure implies a financial support (20% of the benefit) by Bilateral Agencies, which are also in charge of training programmes.

  1. Eligibility:

At least 1 week of social contribution dated 2 years; 78 days of work record within the year.

  1. Duration:

A lump sum payment.

  1. Replacement rates:

35% for first 120 days and 40% for next ones. Its duration corresponds to the days worked within last year and stops at the 180th day. The sum between working days and subsidized days must not exceed 360 (before it was 312).

  1. Financing:

The same as for Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment (a social contribution corresponded to 1,61% of employees’ retributions, paid by employers).

  1. SP involvement:

Yes/No. If Yes, specify briefly:

Only marginally . As in the case of Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment, trade unions lobby policy-makersto improve UB benefits; plus they might have a role in the practical delivery of UB. New opportunities for SP role are possible through the intervention of Bilateral Agencies, whose involvement is essential to allow for some benefits (as in the case of suspended workers).

UB FOR AUTONOMOUS ECONOMICALLY DEPENDENT WORKERS

  1. Coverage:

Autonomous economically dependent workers particularly hit by 2008 crisis.

  1. Eligibility:

Dependent workers as characterised by only one contractor/ service buyer. At least 5.000 euro earned in the previous year. Between 3 and 10 months of social contribution paid in the last year to their dedicated Funds (“Gestione Separata INPS”).

  1. Duration:

A lump sum payment, as part of a policy planned for 2009-2011.

  1. Replacement rates:

10% of previous year’s earnings.

  1. Financing:

As for other UB schemes in derogation, resources come from special funds, as Funds for Employment, mostly based on national budget.

  1. SP involvement:

No.

1.2.3. Social Assistance.

Social Assistance schemes to tackle the lack of income due to unemployment are not present in Italy.

2. SP involvement in the UB regime

2.1. The development phase

2.1.1. In your country, did SP participate in the development phase of UB programmes over the last decade?

Yes. Formally, SPs are involved in the UBs’ development phase, even though, substantially, such involvement tends to be relatively effective. Both Italian trade unions and employers’ associations are extensively engaged on several issues related to social policies and work regulation.

2.1.2. If yes, please provide detailed information on the SP involvement in the development phase of UB regimes with respect to the following dimensions, distinguishing between UI and UA and reporting any important changes during the decade.

  1. Who did take the initiative of involving SP in the design process? Did they ask themselves?

Variable. Initiative can be held by government and/or SPs.

SP involvement in developing the UB system is a constant, since policy-makers seldom take decisions unilaterally. From their point of view, SP are willing to be actively engaged, especially in UI scheme as the Mobility Funds, which typically concern, for trade unions, their most rooted constituency (blue-collars in large manufacturing firms) and, for employers, the biggest and most traditional firms.

  1. Which are the forms of such kind of SP involvement? Are/were they informed, consulted by the relevant institutions? Does/did some kind of negotiation or concertation between the SP and the institutions take place?

Extensively, with formal and informal meetings.

It depends mostly on political coalition in power. Basically, centre-left forces are used to strike a deal with trade unions before deliberating, as occurred with 2007 social pact on welfare. Vice versa, for centre-right forces it is enough to have only part of trade unions on their side, as done by Berlusconi governments in early 2000s. In the former case, ‘concertation’ constitutes the watch-word of any social policies, UB designing included, and trade unions hold the initiative; in the latter, ‘consultation’ is a more appropriate word, since trade unions are constantly informed by policy-makers, but at the same time their agreement appears secondary.

  1. In which way is/was their involvement in the policy design process legitimated/accepted? Through their participation in formalised and stable organisms (like tripartite or bipartite bodies)? Through their participation in lightly formalised ad-hoc commissions, or in occasional interaction? In other ways?

SPs involvement is traditionally rooted and, somehow, seen as a ritual.

There are not stable and formalized arrangements of SP involvement in the UB designing. Rather than undermining SP relevance, here it means that they are so legitimated and accepted actors that they do not need an institutionalized framing for their participation. This is particularly obvious concerning UI schemes such as Mobility Funds and Mobility Funds in derogation, where trade unions’ role is extremely relevant.

  1. How frequent is/was such involvement? Regular and predictable, or episodic, ad-hoc?

Contingent, but also frequent if necessary. Certainly SP are more often engaged in debate surrounding the development of UI, since this kind of measures implies a wider SP’ involvement.

  1. At what levels does/did such involvement occur? (e.g. national, regional, local, cross-sectoral, sectoral, company, other level(s))

SPs’ involvement in the UBs’ development phase is diffused.

Until 2009 SP involvement took place only at the national level. By 2009 anti-crisis acts, the regional level came to the fore, since it acquired several new competences, as the ones related to UB schemes in derogation.

  1. Which are/were the effects of such involvement (with regard to both a more efficient/effective functioning of the programmes, and the strengthening and legitimation of the SP themselves)?

Barely predictable.

Results are not straightforward, also because the UB system is thoroughly blurring and fragmented. At the same time the efficacy of the system is uncertain: it provides a quite reliable protection to some workers, while it completely misses others. Nevertheless, as for the labour market, there is no evidence that this dualism is a consequence of SP involvement, even though this issue is highly debated (e.g. insiders-outsiders vs. precarization theory).

2.2. The implementation phase

2.2.1. Distinguishing between UI and UA programmes, please describe the SP’ role in accomplishing specific functions related to UB schemes SPs are marginally involved in the implementation of UB schemes.

  1. degree and institutional relevance of their involvement (mandatory, advisory or voluntary presence):

Generally, SPs are not directly involved in this phase, which so far is completely in charge of the National Institutions of Social Security (Istituto Nazionale per la Previdenza Sociale, INPS). SPs play a role within this public organism, which affects above all the management phase of UB, as described below.

However, SPs might be directly involved in the UB implementation at least in two cases. In the toughest scheme of UI, Mobility, SPs’ role is not mandatory but highly recommended, being related to a discount in social contributions? Furthermore, also the ordinary UI foresees an incentive to SPs’ engagement: since 2000 part of its financing (0,30% out of 1,61% of every retribution) might be deviated to SPs’ bilateral organisms for training programs.

Finally, INPS promotes SPs’ role through specific agreement, by which SPs are allowed to charge a quota from the UB (around 1-2%), whenever they help its claimer in accomplishing the bureaucratic steps.

  1. incidence of their involvement in the implementation process (at the beginning, throughout and/or at the end of the process):

Whereas it occurs, especially in the application phase.

  1. the strategic positions possibly held by SP:

Associated with their role within the National Institutions of Social Security (INPS).

Moreover, SPs’ involvement is surely strategic also whereas their presence affects the amount of social contributions due by the firms to the National Institutions of Social Security. This is the case of Mobility, as already noted; but also (although to a lesser extent) of the ordinary UI, the Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment. Indeed, since 2000 part of its financing, which means 0,30% out of 1,61% of every retribution, might be used for training programmes managed by SP bilateral organisms.

2.3. The management phase

  1. organisational commitment: are their specific sections of their organisations dedicated to the UB programmes?

Within INPS, SP have a leading role within the Steering and Surveillance Group (Consiglio di indirizzo e vigilanza), which establishes its targets and guide-lines, as well as approving its budget. In fact, SPs appoint all the 24 members present within this group, which is renewed every 4 years. Furthermore, its President is elected only by members representing dependent workers.

  1. organisational coordination among possible different levels of SP dealing with UB:

INPS is a centralized structure and its Regional Directions have not autonomous power.

  1. dedicated staff (composition of SP’ personnel in charge of UB programs):

SPs play an extensive role in appointing members of INPS’ Commissions and Committees which tackle specific issue and accomplish more practical tasks.

  1. operational autonomy (self-governing, conditioned by the state, other):

As framed within INPS, the public institution responsible of social security. Therefore, although SPs are autonomous in appointing their representatives within INPS, these ones operate in field conditioned by the State.

  1. financial autonomy (self-sufficient, dependent by the state, other):

As for INPS, it has been fixed by the State.

2.3.2. Distinguishing between UI and UA programmes, please describe the role of SP in case they are engaged in the financial management of the UB funds.

There is no information available to straighten up this issue.

Note: Another crucial issue to be considered deals with possible integrations among UB provisions and other kinds of programmes, especially those related to active labour market policies.

2.3.3. Distinguishing between UI and UA programmes, please answer to the following questions:

  1. is the SP’ role in the organisation and provision of UB programmes linked to the organisation and provision of other programmes/services (for instance, related to education and training)? Please, specify:

Basically, in Italy there are not other programs linked with UB. INPS is strictly focused on passive policies, which are the measures Italian welfare relies heavier on. Nevertheless, especially in some sectors, SPs are trying to activate training programs related to UB, as by improving roles and competencies of Bilateral Agencies.

  1. if there is some kind of organisational relationship/integration among different labour market policies and programmes, does it lead also to an administrative/operative relationship between the SP and the Public Employment Service, or with private employment agencies?

Absent but perhaps emerging, given the emphasis recently put on activation programs, both by policy-makers and some SPs’ leaders.

  1. if yes, did this lead to mergers, networks or coalitions building among the SP and public and/or private organizations (eventually at the local level)?

No.

2.4. The monitoring phase

2.4.1. SP involvement in monitoring/evaluating the UB performance

Are the SP involved in the monitoring and evaluation of the UB system?

Limited and reflected in the approval of INPS budgeting by its Steering Group, although monitoring is often invoked by policy-makers and SPs themselves.

Despite in some cases monitoring by SP is invoked by policy-makers and SP themselves, there is no corresponding evidence.

  1. Which aspects of UI/UA functioning are put under evaluation (e.g. procedures, results, other)?
  2. Who is in charge of such monitoring/evaluation (a commission, an external body, etc.)?
  3. How and when the monitoring process take place (in which phase of the process, with which frequency,…)?
  4. Which is the output (a report, other) of such process and which the possible outcome (formal recommendations, rewards, sanctions, other)?
  5. How extensive and relevant is the SP’ role in the assessment process?

2.4.2. monitoring the SP involvement in the UB system

Is the SP role within the UB system subject to evaluation and monitoring?

Almost absent.

  1. Which aspects of their performance are evaluated/monitored? (e.g. compliance to established procedures, ability to reach established targets, other)
  2. In which way (by whom, in which occasion, with which frequency) is the SP performance evaluated

Spontaneously.

  1. Which are the consequences, if any, of positive/negative evaluations?

No consequences.

3. Final observations

3.1. Public debates and policy discussion:

Debates are related to the main characteristics of the UB system as it might be in an upcoming future, as foreseen by recent Monti’s reforms. The focus is on the new UB schemes, ASPI (Social Insurance to Employment) and Mini-ASPI (short ASPI), as well as on the possible implication of strong budget reduction of National Institutions of Social Security (INPS).

Considering Monti government’s proposal, the main characteristics of the UB system as it might be in an upcoming future are the ones associated to ASPI (Social Insurance to Employment) and Mini-ASPI (short ASPI), illustrated by the above-mentioned categories as follows.

ASPI would replace Mobility Funds, Mobility Funds in derogation and Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment (UI), while Mini-ASPI Insurance would substitute Insurance for Unemployment with reduced requirements (UA).

Their coverage is similar to Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment, since they concern all dependent workers, including apprentices and artists (so far considered only in schemes with reduced requirements or in derogation). Autonomous economically dependent workers remain not covered, but Monti proposal aims to confirm the current temporary scheme.

Eligibility criteria to obtain ASPI benefits are the same of Insurance for Involuntary Unemployment (a social contribution related to work dated at least 2 years, 52 weeks of work-record within last 2 years). In the case of Mini-ASPI, those are 13 weeks of social contribution in the last year, which means that, compared to Insurance for Unemployment with Reduced Requirement (78 days of work-record), there is a different count but a similar result.

Regarding UB duration, ASPI lasts 12 months for dismissed workers under 55 and 18 months if they are over 55 (currently it is 8 months for under 50 and 12 for over 50, so it increases for workers under 50 and over 55, while it is the same in the range 50-55). Mini-ASPI benefits are allowed for no more than half of previous year’s weeks with social contribution record (currently it is a lump sum calculated on a daily base, with a maximum of 180 days of benefits).

As far as replacement rates are concerned, both ASPI and Mini-ASPI imply a benefit amount equal to 75% of previous retribution until 1.150 euro and 25% of the remaining part of retribution, with a maximum fixed in 1.119 euro. The benefit is reduced by 15% after 6 months and by 30% after 1 year.

The new UB schemes are financed by a 1,31% quota charged to any retributions of dependent workers with open-ended contracts and, in addition, by a contribution equivalent to 1,4% of retributions of workers with fixed-term contracts. Furthermore, before dismissing an employee, his employer has to pay a contribution equivalent to an half of the monthly salary per working year within the firm (with a maximum of three years).

Basically, ASPI and Mini-ASPI seem bound to reduce SP involvement within UB regimes. This is particularly true once compared with the functioning of Mobility Funds, both in its ordinary and derogated version. SP might accept it insofar as their role is enhanced in other part of the UB system. This is what reforms dealing with Wage Guarantee Funds and Bilateral Organisms are supposed to carry out.

3.2. Research:

  • Altieri, G., Birindelli, L., Di Nicola, F., Raitano M. & Treves C. (2011), “La proposta di riforma del sistema degli ammortizzatori sociali della Cgil”, Rivista giuridica del lavoro e della previdenza sociale, aprile-giugno, 2.
  • Anastasia, B., Gambuzza, M., Rasera, M. & Rosato, S. (2012), Che cosa possiamo aspettarci dalla riforma del mercato del lavoro? appunti sui nodi critici e sulle soluzioni possibili, Working Paper, Febbraio 2012, http://www.fscpo.unict.it/270/Didattica_270/Interclasse_Sociologia-Servizio_Sociale/Sociologia_L-40/Riforma_mdl.pdf (3rd April 2012).
  • Anastasia, B., Mancini, M. & Trivellato, U. (2009), “Il sostegno al reddito dei disoccupati: note sullo stato dell’arte. Tra riformismo strisciante, inerzie dell’impianto categoriale e incerti orizzonti di flexicurity”, ISAE Working paper, n. 112.
  • Boeri, T. (2012), Le tasse, il lavoro e la crescita, presentation to Italian Senate, 29 February, http://www.senato.it/documenti/repository/commissioni/comm06/Indagini%20conoscitive/Boeri%20presentazione.pdf (3rd April 2012).
  • Cazzanti, S. (2007), L’assicurazione per la disoccupazione: ragioni e alibi di una faccenda non conclusa, Lavoro e diritto, 1, 79-114.
  • Cinelli, M. (2010), Occupazione, protezione sociale, nuovi modelli di welfare: alcune riflessioni, Rivista di Scienze Giuridiche, 57, 3, 419-48.
  • Fontana, A. (2007), Nella nebulosa degli strumenti di tutela del reddito: indennità di mobilità e integrazioni salariali, 115-42.
  • Garofalo, D. (2008), La riforma degli ammortizzatori sociali: l’ipotesi “neocostituzionalista”, in Aa.Vv., Scritti in onore di Edoardo Ghera, Bari, Cacucci.
  • Pallini, M. (2009), Sono compatibili gli ammortizzatori sociali “in deroga” con la disciplina comunitaria degli aiuti di Stato?, Rivista del diritto della sicurezza sociale, 2, 353-70.
  • Pessi, R. (2010), Gli ammortizzatori in deroga: persistenza o fine del modello assicurativo?, Rivista del diritto della sicurezza sociale, 2, 325-32.

3.3. Other issues:

All main features have been tackled. Nevertheless, a deeper research might address the growing debate about the creation of voluntary and integrative UB schemes, completely run by SPs. It would be set on bilateral basis by SPs, leading to the creation of sector-specific funds, as already done in construction. Such a reform raises several comments, highlighting its advantages as well as shortcomings.

4. Commentary

4.1. Assessments and comments:

SP involvement in the UB regime is changing as the UB has been changing too.

In the last ten year, UB schemes have extended to replace incomes of workers not only unemployed, but under-employed too. This trend has led to stretch already existent UI schemes, as well as improving UA ones. The Social Partners have been involved in the process in different ways: widely when drafting UI for large firms and UI/UA in derogation; to a much lesser extent in case of ordinary UI and other UA measures.

Considering also the Monti proposal dedicated to social shock absorbers and short-time working scheme, there are reasons to believe that SP involvement is bound to be decreasing in cases of unemployment, but at the same time emphasized in the earlier phase, where jobs are not lost but just ‘suspended’.

Even though the last 10 years of adaptive efforts of catching up with the increasing labour market’s heterogeneity, the decisive stimulus came along the 2008-crisis, as part of an urgent policy-mix that could not have been postponed. Currently, such a state of emergency might not be fully considered over. Indeed, Monti government’s priority was to restore financially the country and, in doing so, several issues have been put under scrutiny. A rationalization of the UB system has emerged as crucial and its proponents, being experts without a clear political endorsement, might make a break through. Actually, as briefly noted, so far these expectation do not seem to be met, since the new schemes are still heavily rooted in the old paths.

4.2. Perceived strengths and weaknesses:

Next SPs’ involvement within the UB regime seems linked with the role the State will play within it. On one side, the State might promote SPs’ role, as exemplified by the law promoting Bilateral Organisms as actors managing integrative forms of replacement income or training programmes. Their fulfilment depends also on the budgetary concessions allowed by the State itself (e.g. discount on social contributions to the public Social Security funds). On the other, the public budget is under strain and the State is finding harder and harder to fulfil its duties, also within the UB regime. This might open new spaces for SPs, which instead are willing to improve the provision of services to their (shrinking) constituencies.

Stefano Gasparri, Università degli Studi di Milano

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